North All-Star boys beat South
By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
July 22, 2001
GOODMAN In a contest dominated by defense, a pair of offensive spurts by Byron Huggins made the difference in the 49th annual Coca-Cola All-Star Boys Basketball Game.
Huggins, who starred at Aberdeen, scored six points in the first quarter and put up eight more in the fourth on his way to game-high honors, helping the North squad pull away from the South 63-47 in front of an estimated crowd of 1,000 at Holmes Community College.
Named as the Most Valuable Offensive Player in the game, Huggins was the only North player in double figures. He tallied 18 points and seven rebounds, and his thunderous, two-handed slam dunk with 1:24 left put the exclamation point on his team's victory.
"We were just trying to run some clock and get a real good shot," Huggins said. "I just got open in the lane."
Huggins' six points in the first four minutes of the game helped the North grab a seven-point lead. But after a thunderstorm outside the Frank Branch Coliseum knocked out a portion of the lighting and delayed the game several minutes, the defenses took over.
The South went scoreless for three minutes while the North stretched its lead to 25-14, but then the South reeled off 12 unanswered points during a scoreless streak of more than four minutes for the North.
A steal and layup from Hattiesburg's James Ball sparked the South run that eventually put his team up 26-25 its only lead of the game.
The North went back ahead 29-28 at halftime, and got a pair of 3-pointers from T.L. Weston's Daniel Hall in the third quarter to stretch its lead to 49-41.
The South was within six points at the 4:14 mark of the final period, but Huggins scored six of his team's points during an 8-0 run that ended all doubt.
Hall finished with nine points for the North to help out Huggins, while Roman Henderson of South Panola scored seven. Anthony Hankins of South Panola won Most Valuable Defensive Player honors.
Ball led the South with 12 points, while Harrison Central's Orlando Lewis scored nine.
Local stars Rayford Everett of Wayne County and Renaldo McKenzie of Quitman also had solid efforts for the South, which was coached by Quitman's Steve Hampton and Harrison Central's Ricky Stone.
Everett scored five points and had three rebounds, while McKenzie had three points, four rebounds and one assist.
The South still holds a 31-16 margin in the series.
Rocky Higginbotham is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.